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The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TDTCB Chapter 16
« on: July 22, 2018, 05:42:21 pm »
Those of us who survived will always be bewildered when we recall is arrival.  And not just because he was so different then.  In a strange sense he never changed.  We changed.  If he seems so different to us know, it is because he was the figure that transformed the ground.

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB Chapter 15
« on: July 18, 2018, 07:52:22 pm »
"...Zealous men often confuse purity with intolerance, particularly when they're young"
Though Achamian suspected matters were a great deal more complicated, he said only, "You've been reading again, haven't you?"

...It's a possibility that saves me, that drives me to continue.  What if? I ask myself.  What if this Holy War is in fact divine, a good in and of itself?

This is what you bring to me?  One of your spies is executed - for spying! - and you suspect that Maithanet - the greatest Shriah in generations! - conspires with the Consult? ...

"and this brings us to the rub, doesn't it Achamian?"
Achamian could only stare in bewilderment.  There was something more, something he was forgetting... When did he become such an old fool?
"Rub?" he managed to ask.  "What rub?"
"The difference between knowing and feeling.  Between knowledge and faith."  Proyas caught his bowl and downed it as though punishing the wine.  "You know, I remember asking you about the God once, many years ago.  Do you remember what you said?"
Achamian shook his head.
"'I've heard many rumours,' you said, 'but I've never met the man.'"
"Anyway," Proyas continued hesitantly, " my point is this: What you said of my God, you must say of your Consult as well.  All you have are rumours, Achamian.  Faith.  You know nothing of what you speak."
"What are you saying?"
His voice hardened. "Faith is the truth of passion, Achamian, and no passion is more true than another.  And that means there's no possibility you could speak that I could consider, no fear you could summon that could be more true than my adoration.  There can be no discourse between us."

Akka is out-argued and out-reasoned by his pupil, his 'boy', who then utterly rejects him.
The whole rationale behind Akka's life is what he dreams every night - he 'knows' they are true because of what they make him feel, but the truth of the dreams cannot be proven to others.  Only those who touch Seswatha's heart can share them - esoteric or secret knowledge - Gnostic.
The conflict between faith and intellect cuts to the heart of what this series is all about.  As is suggested in earlier Chapters and as we are about to see demonstrated by Kellhus, faith can be manipulated by the clever.

We get the dream with 'an Anasurimbor will return at the ending of the world'.  And lo and behold...

A section with Esmenet.
The beautiful blond man seems to be possessed. After they have sex, he comes across as a completely different person.  Yet he spills black seed.  Is he the same being as the one that spilt the black seed in the previous Chapter?  'Sarcellus' does not have black seed, or Esmi would surely flee.  Therefore what are the 'black seed' things?  I think it is later confirmed that they are one of the Inchoroi - although we have learnt anything up to this point that would confirm that.
Are the Consult trying to manipulate Esmi to such a point that she will betray Akka to them - I think this is intimated as such in an earlier chapter?  Or is this just foreshadowing her betrayal of Akka with Kellhus?

Proyas comes across as rather hypocritical.  In a previous Chapter he won't see Akka, but then does.  Then he doesn't ever want to see Akka again, but asks him back within a week.

More on faith, as a follow up to the previous dialogue
"There's faith that knows itself as faith, Proyas, and there's faith that that confuses itself for knowledge.  The first embraces uncertainty, acknowledges the mysteriousness of the God.  It begets compassion and tolerance.  Who can entirely condemn when they're not entirely certain they're in the right?  But the second, Proyas, the second embraces certainty and pays lip service to the God's mystery.  It begets intolerance, hatred, violence..."
Proyas can only respond be quoting scripture, but really he has no answer, and he knows it.

Do the Dunyain embrace uncertainty and mysteriousness?  Pretty sure their whole purpose is to eliminate such things.  Faith is not relevant to them, and hence they have become spiritually weak. 
I'd suggest faith requires hope (or belief), not cold rationality. 

Akka notes that thousands and thousands will die in the Holy War,  maybe Xinemus, his only friend.  A quite tragic piece of foreshadowing.

... Achamian heard Iryssas chiding the Norsirai about his appearance, as though the man were a bond brother rather than a foreigner about to meet his prince...
Kellhus already up to his tricks.

Cnaiur tries to sell Proyas a story that his 'land has repudiated him' he has 'renounced his land' and he has come to sell his expertise to the Holy War.  It is never made clear whether Proyas actually believes this, but irrespective Proyas needs the Scylvendi as a 'surrogate for Conphas'.

Akka shares a look with Kellhus and
... Unaccountably, he thought: Him... The answer lies with him
.  Kellhus can manipulate even by expression.

Akka suggests Cnaiur's real reason for coming south is to get revenge on Conphas.

Proyas asks
..., but why would you come here?  Why would a Scylvendi cross the Empire of all places?  Why would a heathen join a Holy War?"

Then... 'a resonant voice',
a man whose 'bearing was imperious despite the rags clothing him'
'one steeped in a life of absolute authority'
'moderated somehow by hardship and sorrow'
"I am Anasurimbor Kellhus, son of Moenghus,"  the man said in heavily accented Sheyic.  "A prince of the north.  Of Atrithau."

The penny drops.
"A powerful name."
"I cannot speak for my blood."
I do wonder why the name Anasurimbor seems to have little impact on anyone other than Achamian.  I'm pretty sure the tales of the Apocalypse are well known, certainly amongst the nobility.  The arrival of a man with the same family name of the high kings of Kuniuri, should raise eyebrows at the very least.

Akka gets the flash backs to the dream earlier in the Chapter.  Here maybe is the proof that Proyas thought he lacked.

Why is Kellhus here?
"... How could you have known of the Holy War?
Hesitation, as though he were both frightened and unconvinced by what he was about to say.  "Dreams.  Someone sent me dreams"
This cannot be!
"Someone?  Who?"
The man could not answer.
The implication from the final silence is that Kellhus' dreams are of divine origin.  He is manipulating Proyas' faith.  The actual source of the dreams are of course Moenghus - i.e. intellect.

The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TDTCB CHapter 15
« on: July 15, 2018, 06:24:00 pm »
Many have condemned thise who joined the Holy War for mercenary reasons, and doubtless, should this humble history find its way into their idle libraries, they will blast me as well.  Admittedly, my reasons for joining the Holy War were mercenary," if by that one means that I joined it in order to procure ends outside of the destruction of the heathen and the reconquest of Shimeh.  But their were a great many mercenaries such as myself, and like myself, they inadvertently furthered the Holy War by killing their share of heathen. The failure of the Holy War had nothing to do with us.
Did I say failure? Perhaps "transformation" would be a better word.

Faith is the truth of passions. Since no passion is more true than another, faith is the truth of nothing.

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB Chapter 14
« on: July 10, 2018, 09:00:13 pm »
This Chapter is entirely from Serwe's POV, which I think is the only time in the whole series that this occurs, and therefore is probably of some significance.

Never has she known such a man.  A man who knew her, and yet still loved.
Kellhus loves me.  He's the first to love me
  This is of course not true.  Kellhus doesn't love her.

Serwe has compassion.  She tries to warn the boy, but both Cnaiur and Kellhus go after him, and kill him. 

The whelp warned no one, girl.  What mere boy could escape a Dunyain.
  Certainly not Cnaiur, as we know.

Serwe believes she has forced Kellhus to kill the boy. 
My first sin against you father

She is pregnant and thinks it is Kellhus'.  It is pretty obvious that it is in fact Cnaiur's.  The implication is therefore that Serwe is not altogether sane, which is reinforced when she sees haloes around Kellhus' hands.

She runs away.  Two Kidruhil try to rape her.  Cnaiur turns up and kills one of them.  She kills the other one, and is marked with a swazond by Cnaiur for her trouble. 
He exists only here, a scar upon your arm.  It is the mark of his absence, of all the ways his soul will not move, and of all the acts he will not commit.  A mark of the weight you now bear.

She doesn't understand. 
You are my prize, Serwe.  My tribe.
  No quote sure what to make of this.

We see why Cnaiur has been kept alive.  His understanding of the Kidruhil, and the Nansur lands is invaluable.  But it is clear that Kellhus is in charge.

Serwe's horse dies.  Cnaiur want to leave her, but Kellhus will not.  They are cornered by the Kidruhil, but inexplicably run into the Conriyans instead.

I am the promise...  Our promise.  Our God
What was impossible was that a God might walk now, that a God might fall in love with her...

I think Serwe can be read as a stand in for the worldborn in general, given what follows.  Kellhus can 'see' all her perceived inadequacies, but 'loves' her nonetheless - perhaps in a way that no one else ever has.  It is no great leap to perceive him as divine, especially given his physical prowess (and subsequent sorcerous power).  There is also a contrast with Mimara, who can actually see and forgive with the judging eye - self-interest vs altruism.  Earlier Chapters show Akka as an altruist and the imperials as self-interested.

Why does Kellhus not leave Serwe behind.  Does he keep her to goad Cnaiur?  or for some other reason.  Why does Serwe see haloes.  Is there something deeper going on?

End of Part 4.  All the various plot strands and character arcs are about to come together...

The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TDTCB Chapter 14
« on: July 08, 2018, 12:22:04 pm »
Some say men continually war against circumstances, but I say they perpetually flee.  What are the works of men if not a momentary respite, a hiding place soon to be discovered by catastrophe?  Life is endless flight before the hunter we call the world.

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB Chapter 13
« on: July 07, 2018, 11:33:24 am »
Quote from:  TheCulminatingApe
I think you've misunderstood my post here, MSJ.  I wasn't saying the Scylvendi don't understand what 'Lokung' is, but that we as the readers don't yet have enough information to link the Scylvendi religion with the No-God

Yes sir, I did misunderstand.  Sorry, I'm picking up what your putting down.

No need to apologise :)

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB Chapter 13
« on: July 06, 2018, 08:15:23 pm »
Quote from:  TheCulminatingApe
We learn that the Scylvendi worship Lokung, who was born, and who laid waste to the north.  I don't think we have actually had any real mention of the No-God as yet, so the two can't necessarily be linked, but the implication seems to be that the Scylvendi are on the 'wrong' side religiously, as it were.

Don't agree with this. The Scylvendi fought for the NG in the 1st apocalypse. They might not of knew it's name, but they worshipped it. Why? Because they are they People of War. And, that was the NG's purpose. They call it Lokung, The Dead God. They past this all down orally. They know the connection.

I think you've misunderstood my post here, MSJ.  I wasn't saying the Scylvendi don't understand what 'Lokung' is, but that we as the readers don't yet have enough information to link the Scylvendi religion with the No-God.

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB Chapter 13
« on: July 04, 2018, 06:51:03 pm »
Lots of interesting things in this Chapter.

In desperate times, Cnaiur knew, men rationed nothing so jealously as tolerance.  They were more strict in their interpretation of custom and less forgiving of uncommon things
Echoes of the real world there.

We learn that the Scylvendi worship Lokung, who was born, and who laid waste to the north.  I don't think we have actually had any real mention of the No-God as yet, so the two can't necessarily be linked, but the implication seems to be that the Scylvendi are on the 'wrong' side religiously, as it were.

What do you see?
We get this twice from Cnaiur in a short space of time as Kellhus is scrutinizing him.  This, I think, is the first appearance of one of the No-God's 'catchphrases'.  Also, the reference to Bannut links back to an earlier Chapter, where Cnaiur is told 'he will be measured'. 

Cnaiur decides he will kill Kellhus.  Cnaiur realises Kellhus will kill him.  Kellhus decides he will not kill Cnaiur.

Scenarios flashed through his soul's eye: his strike stilled by Kellhus's bare palms; his strike stilled by the treachery of his own hand, Kellhus's eyes popping open, and a voice from nowhere saying I know you Scylvendi... better than any lover, any God.
  Cnaiur knows he is outmatched, I think.

And why had he decided to cross the mountains?  Was it truly to discover whether the Empire was embroiled in a holy war, or was it to draw out the lie he had been chasing?
Use the son.  Use a Dunyain...
Such a fool!
He did not sleep that night. Neither did the wolves.  Before dawn he crept into the pitch black of a yaksh and huddled among weeds.  He found an infant's skull and wept, screamed at the bindings, at the wood, at the hide surfaces; he beat his fists against the treacherous earth beneath.
The wolves laughed and wailed despicable names.  Hateful names.
Afterward, he put his lips to the earth and breathed.  He could feel him listening from somewhere out there. He could feel him knowing.
What did he see?
It did not matter.  The fire burned and it had to be fed.
On lies if need be.
Because the fire burned true.  The fire alone.
So cold against swollen eyes.  The Steppe. The trackless Steppe.

Cnaiur destroys the Munuati. both in answer to their mockery and to prove the Scylvendi lost to superior intelligence at Kiyuth.  He knows the Scylvendi have been deceived, that the are slaves to custom, to 'what comes before'.  We also get an example of the seeming superhuman physical abilities of Anasurimbor Kellhus.

We come across Serwe for the first time.  From what seems to be a pretty innocent childhood, she falls into the hands of series of increasingly monstrous men, first her father (who sells her, seemingly without a moments thought), the House Gaunum, then the Munuati, then Cnaiur, and ultimately Kellhus (the kind of man who is feared by a Scylvendi.  Serwe prays, she wants justice.  She needs to be shown that she means something.

Because she was Serwe and she was nothing.  She would always be nothing.
  and later in the same Chapter, Cnaiur describes Kellhus as
A prince of nothing

But Kellhus is
... only the promise.
Promise? she cried. Whose promise?
Promise of justice, redemption, salvation?  Promise of meaning?  Are we supposed to read Serwe experiences as representing all of Earwan womanhood?

Kellhus fights and defeats Cnaiur and dangles him of a cliff with one arm (surely physically impossible?). because
He must be shown.
Kellhus misjudges the reflexes of Cnaiur, who draws blood, and misjudges how Cnaiur will react to the beating
Yet more degradation for him to heap on the fire

Everything depended on the domination of circumstance.  He would not join the Holy War, he would seize it, wield it as his instrument.
  This echoes Kellhus' internal thoughts from the prologue. 

The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TDTCB Chapter 13
« on: July 02, 2018, 12:52:45 pm »
Even the hard-hearted avoid the heat of desperate men.  For the bonfires of the weak crack the most stone.


So who were the heroes and cravens of the Holy War?  There are already songs enough to answer that question.  Needless to say, the Holy War provided further violent proof of Ajencis' old proverb, "Though all men be equally frail before the world, the differences between them are terrifying.


The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB Chapter 12
« on: June 30, 2018, 08:31:11 pm »
Cnaiur's whirlwind, which rewrites tracks and paths, replaces familiarity with horror, and replaces order with order, surely foreshadows the No-God, which if memory serves is sometimes called The Whirlwind.

(click to show/hide)

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB Chapter 12
« on: June 29, 2018, 08:56:28 pm »
So, after all the stuff in the first three parts contrasting intellect and emotion, and how the first can be used to manipulate the second, here we get it spelt out to us on a direct personal level by Cnaiur and Kellhus.

No wonder his tribe thought him mad.  He was a man who took counsel with the dead rather than the wise
.  And then he finds the spitting image of Moenghus lying on his father's grave.

Only years afterwards would he understand how those beatings had bound him to the outlander.  Violence between men fostered an unaccountable intimacy...  By punishing Moenghus out of desperation, Cnaiur had demonstrated need... And by demonstrating need, he'd opened his heart, had allowed the serpent to enter
.  Cnaiur then gets his tribesmen to torture Kellhus, rather than getting directly involved himself - we can infer deliberately based on the quoted text.

To truly ask why, however, was to move beyond all permission.
T question everything.  To ride the trackless Steppe.
"Where no paths exist, Moenghus had continued, a man strays only when he misses his destination.. There is no crime, no transgression, no sin save foolishness or incompetence, and no obscenity save the tyranny of custom...
Quite disturbing from Moenghus - anything goes.  The end justifies the means.  No ethics, no morals, no constraints.

Like his mother he had been seduced.
My father is dead.  I was the knife.
And Anasurimbor Moenghus had wielded him.

Cnaiur realises he has been used
Triumph becomes degradation.  Pride became remorse

Everything Moenghus said and did is called into question, is "taken up by the whirlwind" and re-written.

Cnaiur's wives can sense the contrast between Cnaiur (monolithic hatred) and Kellhus (godlike indifference).

Cnaiur's combination of intelligence and hate (very strong emotion?) renders Kellhus' "circumstances incalculable".  He cannot be possessed, he cannot be awed, soother or flattered. 
He knew too much
.  Kellhus ultimately decides to kill him, once he has crossed the Steppe - but it doesn't work out that way.

We learn Kellhus can make mistakes, when he tries the 'Trackless Steppe' analogy.

The Almanac: PON Edition / ARC: TDTCB Chapter 12
« on: June 25, 2018, 08:37:09 pm »
I have explained how Maithanet yoked the vast resources of the Thousand Temples to ensure the viabililty of the Holy War.  I have described, in outline the first steps taken by the Emperor to bind the Holy War to his imperial ambitions.  I have attempted to reconstruct the initial reaction of the Cishaurim in Shimeh from their correspondence with the Padirajah in Shimeh.  And I have even mentioned the hated Consult, of whom I can at long last speak without fear of ridicule.  I have spoken, in other words, almost exclusively of powerful faction and their impersonal ends.  What of vengeance?  What of hope?  Against the frame of competing nations and warring faiths, how did these small passions come to rule the Holy War?

... though he consorts with man, woman, and child, though he lays with beasts and makes a mockery of his seed, never shall he be as licentious as the philosopher, who lays with all things imaginable.

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB, Chapter 11
« on: June 24, 2018, 08:58:33 pm »
Part 3 seems to be all about love. 

Akka loves Esmi but has to leave her to do his duty as a Mandati.

Akka loves his two 'boys'.  One has died and he blames himself.  The other wants nothing to do with him.

He loves his old friend Xinemus, who seems to love him back despite his religious beliefs being anti-sorceror.

Esmi loves Akka - but he has left her - and may leave her permanently because of what she is.

Proyas 'loves' religion, and this forces him to reject Akka.

The Consult on the other hand seem to be all about physical lust rather than emotion.

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB, Chapter 11
« on: June 24, 2018, 08:48:15 pm »
End of Part 3.

We get Proyas vs Conphas, and Proyas comes off second best.  According to Conphas, Maithanet blames Calmemunis for the Vulgar Holy War - and Calmemunis is
your man
- Proyas

Akka wants his other 'son' - Proyas, which will help him deal with the loss of Inrau.  But Proyas won't see him :(.
Akka knows someone is following him - and accosts them, but there is no mark of sorcery.  The skin-spies are yet to be revealed.
He is thinking of Esmi - he doesn't just haves 'sons', but a 'wife' as well.

Big contrast between the 'Sarcellus' we see in conversation with Esmi - a very perceptive man, and the inner dialogue of the skin-spy.  Esmi sees him as
...a paradox, at once reprehensible and beguiling...
and puts this down to him being of the nobility.
Esmi admits she loves Akka, but 'Sarcellus' tries to convince her that Akka cannot love her because she is a whore.
The Old Father knows that Esmi is
...far more than the simple whore I took to her be, Maengi.  She's a student of the game
.  What game?
- because Akka spots he is followed? Because there are things the Consult cannot understand?

The Unholy Consult / Re: Serwa seen with the Judging Eye
« on: June 16, 2018, 12:32:57 pm »
Damned because of how she uses Moenghus?

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